What’s the difference between a macaroon and a macaron? In a few words, coconut and almonds…and also how you say it. Macaroons (mac-uh-ROONS) are coconut-based, either made by folding coconut into meringue or combining it with sweetened condensed milk. Macarons (mac-uh-RONNS) are almond-based, made by folding a combination of finely sifted powdered sugar and almond flour into a meringue.
I’ve made coconut lime macaroons before, so why not coconut lime macarons? These treats have a wonderful flavor profile, and were a big hit with Mike’s coworkers.
For the shells
- 120 grams egg whites, at room temperature (from 3-4 large eggs)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 40 grams superfine sugar, sifted (about 3 tablespoons)*
- 200 grams powdered sugar (about 2 cups)
- 100 grams almond flour (about 1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- Green gel food coloring
For the lime curd filling
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons lime juice
- zest of 2 limes
- 6 tablespoons butter
Line three large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine powdered sugar and almond flour and pulse for about 30-45 seconds. Sift into a large bowl, discarding any large bits, and set aside.
Place egg whites and salt in clean, dry, grease-free bowl. Using the whisk attachment, whip egg whites on low speed, then increase to medium/medium-high speed and whip until egg whites are foamy and no longer translucent. Slowly add superfine sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, whipping until stiff peaks form. Add coconut extract and a few drops of your desired food coloring. Whip again to combine, but be careful not to over-whip; you still want stiff peaks but don’t want to take the meringue too far and have it become grainy.
Add 1/3 of your dry ingredients at a time and fold in with a spatula, turning the mixture about 15 times with each addition, being very careful not to over-mix. The batter is mixed enough when it is sticky and smooth, and you can make an unbroken figure 8 with the batter as it drips off your spatula.
Place batter into a large piping bag fitted with a plain tip. Holding the bag upright, pipe rounds of batter about 1 1/2 inches in diameter onto the parchment, leaving about 2 inches between each circle. Gently tap or drop your baking sheets onto a counter top or table to release any air bubbles.
Let batter sit for about 30-60 minutes; the tops will form a skin that becomes dry to the touch.
While your macarons are resting, make your lime curd. Lightly beat egg yolks and pass them through a fine sieve to remove the albumin. Set aside in a medium bowl close to the stove for easy access; thoroughly wash your sieve and place it nearby for a second straining once the curd has cooked.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together cornstarch, sugar, lime juice, and lime zest until completely combined. Add butter and cook on medium heat until thickened and bubbly.
Working quickly, pour about half of the hot lime mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to temper. Pour egg mixture back into the pan and cook and stir for 2 minutes more.
Pour mixture through your sieve to remove the zest. To cool the curd quickly, I pour mine onto a rimmed baking sheet and spread it out, then once it’s cool I place it in an airtight container. According to various food safety websites and other food blogs, lemon curd should last in the refrigerator for a few weeks.
To bake the macaron shells, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bake one sheet at a time, for about 17 minutes, checking halfway; the macarons should form “feet” on the bottoms, but have smooth tops. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets.
Once macarons are cool, flip half the macarons onto their tops and pipe or spread filling on the bottom, then top with another macaron. Store in an airtight container at least overnight before serving. You’ll have some filling left over, so you can save it for something else (or just spread it on graham crackers, which is what I usually do with leftover frostings/fillings).